Articles by: Olga Symeonoglou

Veolia Water Faces Scrutiny after Award of Consulting Contract

ST. LOUIS. – In early November, the St. Louis Water Division awarded a consulting contract to the French company Veolia Water. The contract was to be voted on December 19 at the Estimate and Apportionment committee meeting, but was put off due to concerns raised by various citizens and organizations. The strong backlash was against what some see as Veolia’s checkered history in both social and environmental issues. St. Louis Water Division chose Veolia out[Read More…]

Failed Rescue Attempt Leaves French Hostage Dead in Somalia

Early on Saturday January 12, a mission to rescue French hostage Denis Allex resulted in the prisoner’s death by his captors in Somalia. The failed rescue attempt, carried out at the same time as an unrelated French mission in Mali, also resulted in the deaths of two French soldiers and 17 Islamist militants belonging to the al-Shabaab group that had held Allex captive since July 14, 2009. Denis Allex was a pseudonym used by the[Read More…]

Franco-Belgian Bank Dexia to Restructure

On the morning of Friday, December 21, the shareholders of Franco-Belgian bank Dexia SA held a special session in Brussels to decide the bank’s restructuring. The stockholders of Dexia SA, also known as Dexia Group, voted 99.4% in favor of a recapitalization, saving the bank from liquidation. The vote specifically approved a capital injection of €5.5 billion, paid for by Belgium and France. The injection will consist of €2.9 billion from Belgium and €2.6 billion[Read More…]

Turkey Approaches Louvre for Art Restitution, Raising Larger Cultural Property Issues

On September 22, the Louvre opened a new Islamic Arts wing, displaying over 3,000 works, among them a wall of Ottoman Iznik ceramic tiles. The wall is composed of three panels of tiles that, according to Louvre authorities, entered the French public collection between 1871 and 1940. Turkish officials claim that some of the tiles were stolen from the Piyale Pasha mosque in Istanbul at the end of the 19th century by French art historian[Read More…]

France Withdraws Combat Troops from Afghanistan

On Tuesday November 20, France withdrew 400 combat troops from the Nijrab base in the Kapisa region of Afghanistan. This shift of the troops from Nijrab to Kabul marked the end of French occupation of Kapisa, the region responsible for the most French casualties since they began sending troops to Afghanistan in 2001. The troops belonged to the Task Force La Fayette, a two-battalion brigade of 2,200 formed in November of 2009. The 16th battalion[Read More…]